British Lung Foundation
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travelling to San Francisco

Hi my husband suffers from chronic heart failure and consequently has both liquid oxygen for walking outside and a portable oxygen concentrator in the house, which he uses when sleeping and at times in the day when he's short of breath.

Our sons have treated us to a holiday in San francisco, but he'll need oxygen for travelling and during his stay there. Can anyone advise me where I can hire this from, preferably in the UK.


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15 Replies

Contact your O2 provider. Regards Rib

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Thanks, we've done this and they sent us to the Dept. of Health, but they only deal with trips to Europe. They suggested this site...

Oh that is pathetic. Have you cross posted this to the Heart UK group at HealthUnlocked? You really can't be expected to pay for the bagage of ???? Bottles of ambletory oxygen and a condenser for night use. That is ridiculous. Rib

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Hi - Although I use oxygen I have not yet travelled abroad since using it so only have second hand knowledge. You need to check airline policies - soe airline provide 02 for the time you are in the air I think but you have to lookinto that because it varies. The best bet is to hire or buy a portable concentrator. Start by checking out the basics at the British Lung Foundation site's travel with oxygen pages, also you can check out oxygen hire at these sites amongst others - in the meantime perhaps someone with experience of travelling to the USA on 02 will come along - certainly many have done it so it is not an insurmountable problem ;)

Oxygen Hiring or buying:

Call the BLF Helpline on 03000 030 555 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)


I have a son who lives in San Francisco.his wife checked it out for me when I was hoping to travel earlier this year.unfortunately you will have to pay for oxygen in the can't hire it here to take.

With regards to traveling you need to speak to your airline with regards to their policy terms.

Good will both enjoy San Francisco.a beautiful city.

Are you sure about that Jambo - I ask because I know there are UK companies hiring out for folks flying abroad etc. And US patients hire concentrators to bring with them when they come here. This one sounds as if it does it (UK)

I believe you can get the concentrators to hire to take with you.if you have a portable for CPAP at home,take that,but oxygen you will have to pay for in the USA.

You can either hire or buy your own concentrator to take with you. Before you do so however, you need to check that it is airline approved. You can then take it with you, much cheaper than hiring abroad.

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What you can do will also depend on his litreage. I note he is using liquid oxygen for ambulating - not sure how that would work getting off and on planes/travelling. Also, I think oxygen canisters and machinery can be provided in EU because of resiprocal agreements. I'm not sure about America. May be expensive.

I flew to San Francisco two years ago. I travelled with Virgin Atlantic. They provided free O2 both ways, but only on the plane. They also carried my scooter free, and did not include my bag with medicines in the baggage allowance. I have a portable concentrator on prescription, and used that at the airports both ends. If you do that, you can use the airport sockets to charge the battery at waiting points. As it also works off a car power supply, that was all my O2 requirements covered. Make sure to have US adapter plugs with you, if you go down this route. Every one was very friendly, and when I asked to plug in at shops and restaurants, this seemed to encourage closer attention from staff everywhere. You will need to contact your airline's special needs desk a month before travelling to get fit to fly certificates and also,perhaps speak to their consultant doctor.

I hope you get to go,it is a beautiful place with much to see.

Plan well.

Good Luck.

Breathe easy.



I was going to suggest Virgin. They seem to have an excellent policy in place.

Carry sufficient meds for a longer stay than you are going for. Make sure you have a rescue pack of antibiotics and steroids if you use them. Take copies of prescription lists Just in case any of your meds are not certified for use in the US. Use airport assistance at both ends of your journeys, it makes things so much easier. Be prepared to be called first for boarding, so the crew can get you into your seats with minimum fuss.


Hi conutrygirl8 if you need oxygen for flying be careful which airline you choose some supply oxygen for free at either 4 lm or 2 lm others charge you and can be very expensieve.When i travelled to Thailand i flew with British Airways they give you free oxygen but you must have a fit to fly from your consultant ,when i was there i used my Inogen G2 poc supplied by my hospital.I hope this info has been of some help to you,hope you have a great holiday.


Wow, what a brilliant response, thanks to everyone for the advice. We've been able to hire a POC from a company in the North West who've made sure that everything including the batteries are compliant with the airways regulations. So we're all set to fly out on the 3rd September.

I'm now looking for (comparing) health insurance for the trip. All advice welcome!!!!

I know that the major airlines here in the states will let you bring on medical equipment ie. oxygen concentrater for free as a extra carry on bag. just flew to amsterdam and uganda and just carried my equipment along with me no questions asked. The y have lists of compliant products and it is pretty inclusive.

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